The squats are very famous and are of the best body weight exercises, as you can see here. They allow several muscles to work, especially those in the leg and glutes area.
They are quite used in women’s training, but men should not fail to do so.
From experience, it is normal to see men more focused on torso and arms training than on legs and glutes.
However, it is important not to underestimate the leg training, to not cause asymmetry, to avoid problems and/or injuries to the knees, for example, and because they are necessary for various daily activities such as walking, and are a great support for the body.
In this article you will know a little more about squats and I will introduce you to some types of squats.
With these variations it will be virtually guaranteed that you will have results.
Are you ready?
Squats: What you should know about
The “squat” exercise is a polyarticular exercise, that is: it works several joints at the same time.
Also, when you perform a squat, you are working several muscle groups at the same time.
The main muscles worked during the execution of this exercise are: gluteus, hamstring and quadriceps. It is mainly used in the training of the lower part of the body.
When we train squats, we will also work the abdominal and lumbar areas as stabilizers.
The importance of this exercise is recognized, as can be seen by the opinion in the article of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM),
“It is a good idea to start each training day with multiple-joint leg exercises (squats or lunges), because these exercises induce a greater hormone response than upper-body exercises. Also, these movements, when performed correctly, are safe for the majority of the population, can improve coordination, and can prevent injuries from everyday activities.”
However, there are many variations and opinions about this exercise. For example, the deeper the squat, the greater the action exerted on the glutes, hamstring and adductor. However, there are those who say that overcoming the angle of 90° in the squat could damage the joints more quickly.
Each professional is entitled to his or her opinion and to use what they think is best for each person – but always encouraging the adoption of a correct technique.
But according to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), it is essential to take this into consideration:
“(…) some truths will always prevail – maintain your knee/foot alignment, ensure hinging and timing of forward knee translation, facilitate adequate ankle mobility to avoid dysfunction, maintain a rigid pelvis (sacrum, thoracic spine and head) and aim to achieve parallel alignment between your tibia and trunk.”
With these rules as a reference, I’m going to unravel five types of squats you can include in your training.
Types of squats
It is the most basic kind of squat of all and where we use, above all, the weight of our own body.
Sometimes, without realizing it, we’re already doing a squat. Picking up objects from the ground is an example.
- Place your feet slightly beyond the width of the shoulders and pointed forward, straight back and head facing forward.
- Inhale and lower the body (with the hip folding backward) until the legs are at an angle of 90 °. Keep the glutes contracted and do not let the knees overtake the tip of the foot.
- Exhale while rising the body, always with the abdominal contracted until it reaches the initial position.
Warning: The movement should not be finished with the legs stretched, but slightly flexed.
It’s the same position as the sumo wrestlers. In this position the feet are completely turned outward and well away from each other.
In addition to activating the aforementioned muscles, it activates, above all, the long adductor and the magnum, due to the greater amplitude of the movement.
This kind of squat is a good solution to speed up workouts and achieve results more quickly.
- Open your legs, keep the feet facing outward and the knees facing the same side of the foot. Keep the spine and neck straight and facing forward.
- Inhale when descending (with the hip folding backward) until it forms an angle of 90 °. Keep the abdominal contracted.
- Expire on ascent and always with the abdominal contracted until the initial position is reached.
Tip: The position of the knees must always be kept in mind so as not to overwhelm them and you must start with weight of the body or using the TRX and you should progress to the use of weights when there is certainty that the exercise is being well executed and you are starting to have results.
Hack Squat (with feet together)
This variation, due to a lower leg amplitude, will recruit the quadriceps with more intensity (and minus the side part).
This exercise works with less intensity some muscles in relation to the simple squat, since you are limited to what the machine allows.
It can be more difficult to perform and there is greater pressure on the knee joints and therefore should always be accompanied and prescribed by a professional and have yourself a good physical preparation.
- Sit on the machine, support your back on the back pads and keep your shoulders under the supports. Put your feet on the platform and close the legs (middle position).
- Inhale and lower the body slowly (after having the desired weight) until the legs form an angle of 90 °.
- Exhale and climb the body always with the abdominal and gluteus contracted.
For those who want to develop the most leg in the quadriceps area is a great solution. Try it and you’ll see good results.
Lateral band walks with squat
This exercise has an incredible power to work the leg without going to the gym, you know?
With very low investment, a simple elastic tension, you will train your legs in a way that, at the outset, is simple but, believe me, it is quite effective.
In addition to the muscles that are worked during the habitual execution of a squat, this variation also works with some intensity the adductors and still the abductors.
- Put on your feet and put a resistance elastic around your heels.
The more tension the elastic exerts on the body, the harder it will be to perform the exercise.
- Walk from one side to the other, lowering the body in the squat position as you switch sides.
Tip: Anyone who has a wide aisle at home is just taking advantage of the length and doing 6 times come and go.
Jumping Squat in the Box
Already mentioned many times, Callisthenic training (with body weight) allows us to gain a lot of agility and muscular endurance.
That’s what jumping squat in the box is. This exercise, much used in CrossFit not only works the muscles involved in running the squats, but also works the twins (Gastrocnemius) and helps to improve the ability of leg thrust when jumping.
It is one of the most multivalent exercises in the world of squats.
- Locate the front and a short distance (safe) of a functional training BOX.
- Lower the body by doing a simple squat and if you want, you can swing with your arms.
- Jump as much as you can to the top of the BOX.
- On descent if you have experience you can jump backwards but if you do not feel safe in the descent, it is recommended to descend one leg at a time.
This variation allows to increase the capacity of explosion and impulse and can be extremely motivating, because gradually and with more experience it is possible to increase the height to which one can jump.
However, due to its intensity, people should have some experience and muscular endurance to not harm the body and to avoid injury. Remember: Safety in the first place.
The squats are present not only in a conscious way, when we practice physical exercise, for example, but also unconscious, in normal day-to-day activities.
Due to its effectiveness, intensity and the fact that it is an almost natural movement, it is one of the necessary exercises to work the lower part of the body and to strengthen it.
These different types of squats will stimulate the body differently, working with different intensity the different muscles involved in this exercise and working others as a “support”.
Squats are a good way of not demotivating and fighting monotony in training but remember: Any variation should be thought out and prescribed by professionals to avoid injury.
Challenge: Why not do 3 laps in circuit 15 to 20 repetitions of these 5 exercises?